Federal Budget makes medicines more accessible

15 May 2024


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the Albanese Government’s 2024-25 federal budget, making healthcare more accessible to Australians through cost-of-living relief and expanded pharmacy programs.


Australians will have access to cheaper medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, with a freeze on indexation for at least one year ensuring that the cost of medicines does not rise with the cost of living. On top of this, all PBS medicines dispensed by a community pharmacy, hospital, or approved prescriber will now be covered by the Closing the Gap PBS co-payment, making essential medicines free or cheaper for First Nations people.


The government are also set to invest $151.1 million to improve access to dose administration aids (DAAs), lifting the service cap from 60 to 90 services per pharmacy per week.


The Budget has also reaffirmed Commonwealth support for the Aged Care On-site Pharmacists (ACOP) program, investing $333.7 million to embed credentialed pharmacists in aged care facilities from 1 July 2024. Critically, the Budget also confirmed funding for pharmacists to deliver vaccination services in aged care and disability homes, actioning one of PSA’s key recommendations in its 2024-25 Federal Budget Submission.


PSA National President Associate Professor Fei Sim welcomed the Budget, saying that measures to tackle the cost of healthcare are critical to improving accessibility of care.


“Slowing down the rising cost of medicines is essential to ensuring that basic healthcare remains accessible despite the rising cost of living,” Associate Professor Sim said.


“Measures like lifting the cap on dose administration aids and investing in PBS medicines access for First Nations people are a step in the right direction, ensuring that support is rightly focused on priority populations.


“Closing the Gap must continue to be a priority for the entire health sector. PSA continues to promote measures that support greater health outcomes for First Nations people, including improving access to essential medicines.


“As negotiations on the 8th Community Pharmacy Agreement and other agreements continue, PSA is highlighting the importance of funding for the delivery and quality improvement of pharmacist programs to further support patient safety.


“We continue to highlight that pharmacists are key to improving Australians ’access to care and quality use of medicines and medicine safety.”


Associate Professor Sim also acknowledged the $160 million investment in women’s health initiatives included in this year’s budget.

“I sincerely thank Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care Ged Kearney MP for her continued advocacy for women’s health. It is positive to see investment into women’s health in this year’s budget.



“This is only the start of the journey, and I look forward to working collaboratively with the government, the Department and other stakeholders on this important work. ’


“On behalf of PSA and Australia’s 37,000 pharmacists, I commend Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler, Treasurer Jim Chalmers MP on delivering today’s Budget.”


Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0480 099 798  E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au

PSA release pharmacist prescribing position statement

15 April 2024


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has released its Pharmacist Prescribing position statement, highlighting the growing need for pharmacists to practise to their full and top of scope.


Ahead of the release of the next Scope of Practice Review Issues Paper, PSA clarifies support for pharmacist prescribing through emphasising patient safety and quality practice, and make clear that pharmacists have the required competencies to conduct both prescribing and dispensing.

PSA National President Associate Professor Fei Sim FPS said that regulation should exist to support timely access to medicines, not limit it.

“Pharmacists should not be prevented from helping patients when they need care,” A/Prof Sim said.


“Pharmacists can prescribe medicines within their scope of practice. The red tape and regulation that gets in the way of pharmacists helping patients needs to go.

“Pharmacists currently prescribe within a limited formulary, namely under Continued Dispensing arrangements and Pharmacist-Only medicines, but we have the skills and knowledge to do more.

“Current emergency supply provisions do not adequately mitigate the risks associated with ceasing therapy when a patient cannot access their medicines for a wide range of reasons.

“We need to remove the out-of-date regulatory barriers that get in the way of delivering timely, effective health care.

“We’ve seen in other countries pharmacists are prescribing a wider range of medicines than in Australia. This has been successful in providing safe access to medicines where patients have had trouble accessing other prescribers.

“The emergence of pharmacist prescribing pilots in many Australian jurisdictions is further evidence that pharmacist prescribing is driven by real demand on the ground, and serves to address a gap to improve overall health system capability and capacity.

“We know that the Scope of Practice Review is long, so we have renewed our position statement to meet the evolving health needs of our population.”


The position statement also clearly articulates PSA’s commitment to quality and safety measures for pharmacist prescribing.

”Prescribing and dispensing remain as two discrete clinical activities, and pharmacists’ practice in these two activities will continue to be underpinned by appropriate clinical governance to ensure quality and standards,” A/Prof Sim said.

“This position solidifies our commitment to evidence-based health service delivery.

“PSA strongly believes in the implementation of evaluation and quality frameworks for prescribing services, ensuring that all health service delivery is responsive to the care and therapeutic needs of patients.”

PSA’s Pharmacist Prescribing Position Statement is available here.

Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0480 099 798  E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au

South Australian pharmacists welcome oral contraception access

11 April 2024


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the announcement of oral contraceptive pill resupply services through South Australian community pharmacies from May 2024.


Announced by SA Health Minister Chris Picton MP today, the Community Pharmacy Oral Contraceptive Pill (OCP) Resupply Services Scheme authorises appropriately trained pharmacists to resupply certain oral contraceptive pills to South Australian women* aged 17 to 50.

It is a requirement that the requested OCP was initiated by a medical practitioner or other authorised prescriber, and the patient has a history of stable continuous use for a minimum of 2 years prior to resupply through community pharmacy. Medicines included in the protocol include low and standard dose estrogen, and progestogen only contraceptive pills.

PSA South Australia and Northern Territory President Dr Manya Angley FPS said the move secures timely access to care for thousands of women.


“Improving the accessibility to and continuity of contraceptive medicines is essential to empower women to manage their reproduction. This program will make oral contraception more accessible to more South Australian women, particularly those in regional and rural areas,” Dr Angley said.


“Pharmacists are also some of the most accessible health care professionals, giving consumers safe, and equitable access to quality health care and advice as well as provision of medicines, now including approved oral contraceptive pills.”


Dr Angley said that pharmacists can now complete PSA’s Contraception Essentials online training module in preparation for the program’s start on 6 May 2024.


“PSA’s Contraception Essentials online training program is open for enrolment to support pharmacists with the required approved, high-quality education ahead of the program’s start.


“I strongly encourage all South Australian pharmacists to complete the PSA training program now so that services can be delivered immediately,” Dr Angley said.


* These services are inclusive of transgender, gender diverse, intersex or non-binary people assigned or presumed female at birth.

Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0480 099 798  E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au

Tas expands pharmacy services to UTI treatment

12 February 2024


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the Tasmanian Government’s announcement that pharmacists will be authorised to supply treatment for uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs) from March this year.

Every community pharmacist in Tasmania will be able to take part in additional training to offer the program which is modelled on services already operating in other states.

PSA Tasmania President David Peachey MPS said the move utilises the state’s most accessible health care professionals to continue supporting timely patient care.

“PSA welcomes Minister Barnett’s move to give Tasmanians greater access to safe health care when and where they need it,” Mr Peachey said.

“We have already seen UTI prescribing programs work successfully around the country – and in Queensland for quite a few years now.

“We know that around half of women will experience a UTI in their lifetime, and that timely access to treatment is key to alleviating discomfort and preventing further complications or hospitalisation.

“Pharmacists are key to strengthening the health care system. Regional and rural communities across Tasmania will benefit enormously from being able to access treatment from their local pharmacist, freeing up our hardworking rural GPs for more complex patient needs.”

PSA’s Managing uncomplicated cystitis training program is now available to all Tasmanian pharmacists. Successful completion allows the pharmacist to provide an assessment and treatment, if deemed appropriate, for uncomplicated UTIs in women aged 18 to 65, once the program commences from 1 March 2024.

Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0480 099 798  E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au

SA expands pharmacy services to UTI treatment, 24/7 pharmacy opens

6 February 2024


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the opening of the first 24/7 community pharmacy in Adelaide over the weekend by SA Health Minister Chris Picton.

At the opening, Minister Picton also announced that pharmacists who undergo additional training will be able to supply treatment for uncomplicated Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) from March 2024.

PSA South Australia and Northern Territory President Dr Manya Angley FPS said that the round-the-clock access to medicines and health advice – including treatment for uncomfortable UTIs – gives consumers confidence in accessibility to health care.

“With support from the State Government, consumers in Adelaide now have 24-hour access to pharmacists, providing peace of mind that if they get sick or need after hours health advice, they will be able to access expert care from a trusted health professional,” Dr Angley said.

“Health care needs can change unpredictably at all hours of the day or night. People who require medicines for pain management or other palliative care medicines can be assured they can access them around-the-clock, along with the advice and expertise of pharmacists ready to help.

“Pharmacists are critical to improving the accessibility of care and reducing unnecessary stress on our hospital systems, helping to triage, manage and consult on acute common ailments like uncomplicated UTIs.

“Giving consumers an option for acute care outside of visiting an emergency department is key, especially out of hours where there are fewer options for care.

“PSA is looking forward to continuing our work with the South Australian Government and Minister Picton to further improve access to quality healthcare, utilising South Australia’s excellent pharmacists.”

PSA’s Managing uncomplicated cystitis training program is now available to all South Australian pharmacists. Successful completion allows the pharmacist to provide an assessment and treatment, if deemed appropriate, for uncomplicated UTIs in women aged 18 to 65, once the program commences in March 2024.

National Pharmacies in Norwood, South Australia is now open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Chemist Warehouse at the Saints Shopping Centre in Salisbury Plain and Chemist Warehouse at Clovelly Park will begin operating 24/7 in coming weeks.



Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0480 099 798  E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au